Israel Houghton has always been known for his ability to blend gospel with jazz, latin, soul and even rock to produce music that gets you on your feet, takes you to your knees and moves your body while touching your soul. That history, combined with a slew of awards (Dove Awards, Grammy Awards and Stellar Awards), make it a pretty safe bet that any new Israel Houghton project is going to be good. However, Jesus At The Center sails past good, skips through great and lands in extraordinary. The double-CD set presents listeners with almost two and a half hours of music that will remind them of the very best church service they've ever been to. Energy meets passion, whether the song is a foot-stomper or a love song to the Savior, and you will walk away with no doubt that Jesus is very much at the center - of your day, of your life, of your eternity!
'Jesus At The Center' - Adds Special Guests to the Horizon
- Style: Live worship
- 21 Songs
- Time: 2 hours and 18 minutes
- Release Date: August 14, 2012
- Label: Integrity Music
With all of the aforementioned awards (not to mention being the worship leader for Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas - the church with the largest congregation in the entire United States), it would be easy, even "normal" in some circles, for Houghton to have an ego as large as the planet and be one of those "all about me, me, me" guys who doesn't share even a tiny flicker of his spotlight. Not so with Israel Houghton ... not at all. "Iz" as he's known to friends, shares the spotlight with ease because he doesn't claim it as his own. Truly keeping Jesus at the center of it all, he knows where that light comes from and where it should point to and he's glad to share it (as well as his stage) with other artists. Take a look at the guest artists on Jesus At The Center and you'll see what I mean... Jeremiah Wood, Aaron Lindsey, T-Bone, Krystle Harper, Onaje Jefferson, Bishop Michael Pitts, Daniel Johnson, Charlin Moore, Adam Ranney, Rev. Tina Baker, Michael Gungor, James Fortune, Jason Nelson and his teenage daughter, Maria Houghton, all lend their voices, their talent and their love of Jesus to make the project a marvelous success.
OK - I suppose that now, I should actually mention some of the individual songs and start sounding like a "Music Critic" rather than foaming-at-the-mouth fan! Twenty-one songs - all outstanding in my opinion - how's that? No? Not "criticy" enough? How's this? From the opening strains of the first track of the first disc, aptly titled "The Intro: Colossians 1:15-20 (MSG)," where Israel reads the passage with a warmth that puts you in a Jesus state of mind to the last track, a studio version of "Your Presence Is Heaven," I listened to this album several times over a period of weeks and couldn't find a single song I didn't really like.
If I had to pick one song from each CD that I would call the best, on disc 1 it would have to be the fresh "I Call You Jesus," where Houghton and New Breed show vocal strength that reminds us why they win so many awards. Disc 2's "It's Not Over (When God Is In It)," both versions - the one featuring Aaron Lindsey and the one featuring James Fortune and Jason Nelson, deserve a goosebumps red alert! No matter where you are in your walk, this song will speak to you and remind you that as long as God is in your life, it's not over. Having heard both versions several times now on really good days and on days I wished I had stayed in bed, I can tell you without doubt that if you're having a good day when you hear it, you'll be splitting your face with your grin. If you're having a bad day, the promise that it's not over will have you tearing up while making your heart feel a little lighter.
And so it goes ... knockout punches that leave you smiling and wanting more are what you will get on Jesus At The Center. Compelling songs, larger-than-life passion, awe-inspiring musicianship ... this release has it all.
Jesus At The Center Track Listing:
- The Intro - Colossians 1:15-20 (MSG)
- Jesus The Same
- Rez Power
- No Turning Back
- Te Amo
- More Than Enough
- I Call You
- Church Medley: Jesus Is The Sweetest Name I Know / Oh How I Love Jesus
- Jesus At The Center
- Jesus At The Center (Reprise)
- It's Not Over (When God Is In It) - featuring Aaron Lindsey
- Your Presence Is Heaven
- More And More
- Medley: Hosanna / Moving Forward / Where Else Can I Go
- Medley: You Have Me / You Hold My World
- Medley: To Make You Feel My Love / Name Of Love
- It's Not Over (When God Is In It) - featuring James Fortune and Jason Nelson
- Jesus At The Center (Studio Version)
- Your Presence Is Heaven (Studio Version)